When I answered the question, “what’s the best mobile operating system for travelers,” I wholly neglected Windows phones, mostly because they only account for 3% of phones in use worldwide. Since then, Windows phone sales have gone up by 28% in the last year, a trend reflected by the number of emails you sent me asking about Microsoft’s mobile operating system and the phones it runs on.
What Is A Windows Phone?
The mobile phone market is dominated by Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iPhone that runs iOS. Microsoft decided to get into the phone world by creating its own phone operating system in 2010. Late in 2014, Microsoft decided to blend its Windows 10 operating system for laptops and PCs into phones as well to address a big problem: there aren’t many apps available for Windows phones. We’ll see how well the Microsoft Phone Store and Windows Store merge goes and although there aren’t a lot of Windows phone options, those of you looking for the best camera on a mobile will be pleasantly surprised.
In short, the Lumia line is best known for having very high resolution cameras with the right software for accurate color and contrast, giving you excellent travel photos. The Lumia 930 has a 5-inch high resolution screen so you can admire the pictures you take with its 20 megapixel (Carl Zeiss lens) camera. One area where the Lumia 930 is lacking however is its limited LTE band range. Here’s what frequent travelers should know about LTE bands before buying a new phone but if you really want the best camera and can live without 4G in some parts of the world, the 930 is a phone worth considering.
2. HTC One M8 (For Windows)
The Android version of the HTC One M8 is one of the best mobile phones for travelers and this Windows model is basically the same thing. The HTC One M8 isn’t my top pick mostly because if you’re going with a Windows phone, the unspoken reason is you really want a Lumia’s camera. Still, although it doesn’t have quite the amazing camera of the Lumia 930 (few phones do) if you want the best overall mobile phone that happens to be running Windows, go with the HTC One M8.
- You’ll also get wider international LTE coverage; the HTC One M8 has Americas, European, and Australian coverage (LTE bands 3, 4, 7, and 13).
Camera Over Content
Although you can turn any mobile phone into a better digital camera you’re limited both by the lens, sensor, and software interpreting the image. Microsoft has made its bets on the Lumia’s line of top-notch phone cameras while its app ecosystem is still catching up. A lot of popular Android and iOS apps aren’t available for Windows phones so if you can’t live without Snapchat, you should probably stick with Android or iOS for the time being.